Australians and Religion

santa-beech-in-AustraliaWell the Christmas season is over again and I find myself reflecting on what Christianity means for most Australians. I think it would be fair to say that most Australians have a place for God in their lives, a place for religion is their lives, as long as it demands nothing of them.

Many enjoy the Christmas carols, particularly the traditional ones. Many will attend a church for a Christmas eve or Christmas morning service, and some may even talk about it afterwards. But what they’re looking for most of all is a tradition that is on-call when needed, but in the background when not.

Australians are not Godless, but they’re not God centred either. They’re more … whatever. The options of militant Atheism and committed Christianity both require too much energy. What many Aussies seem to want, whether they articulate it this way or not, is laid back religion.

2 thoughts on “Australians and Religion

  1. Do you have some idea of what percentage take Christianity more seriously? I was also curious whether Charles Surgeon has much readership there. While he is very popular in the US, most evangelicals’ Americanism would get in the way of accepting his faithful stand on Christians and warfare [which, incidentally, Ben Witherington shares].


  2. The surveys I have seen all put weekly church attendence in Australia at less than 10% of the population. That fails to paint the full picture, as it excludes serious Christians who believe without belonging to institutional churches. But it’s worth pondering the gap between this and the 61% figure that the 2011 census reported. I have heard Charles Spurgeon quoted by Baptist pastors on a number of occasions but can’t say I’m aware of a wide readership, nor have I read him myself. I think its safe to say he has name recognition in evangelical circles but probably only in a superficial way. I was surprised by those quotes though. Very encouraging to hear he took such a faithful stand.


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